Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Salzburg, 1756-Vienna, 1791) playing in Paris with his father Jean-Georg -Leopold

Mozart playing piano as a child - Carmontelle © RMN
1763 or 1764 - Louis Carrogis, aka Carmontelle - (Paris, 1717-Paris, 1806)
Mozart playing piano as a child - Carmontelle © RMN

The son of a shoemaker from Ariège, Carmontelle was a topographer, a designer, a playwright and a landscape architect. He was also the creator of the Monceau Park in Paris, and the great mind behind the Duke of Orléans's celebrations. He was famous for his portraits of some of the important Parisian personalities from the second half of the eighteenth century as well as for his small improvised comedies called Proverbes. He developed the "transparent", somewhat precursor to the magic lantern: these large drawings, several tens of meters long, would roll open on their axis, and display countryside landscapes. The Baron Grimm, friend of Diderot and Alembert, who modeled for Carmontelle in 1769, quotes his collection of portraits drawn with pencil and colorized with watercolor and gouache. The Condé Museum hosts 484 works, acquired by the Duke of Aumale in the nineteenth century.

 

The portrait of Mozart as a child was drawn during the great journey which saw Mozart play, from 1763 to 1766, in the largest cities of Europe (Germany, Austria, Netherlands, England, Switzerland). This long trip paved the way for the young prodigy as he discovered new musical influences (in Paris, Mozart met the composer and harpsichordist Johann Schobert, devoted to the Prince of Conti).